Chicago Bulls‘ power forward Taj Gibson could be on the trading block now or in the near future. The Minnesota Timberwolves could be calling the Bulls, among a few other teams, regarding Gibson. And if the Chicago Bulls decide that it is time to move their longest tenured player, there is a match in Minnesota.
The Chicago Bulls are in a pickle. The Bulls are not good enough to truly compete for an NBA title, yet they’re not terrible enough to completely bottom out. Where the Bulls sit is somewhere in the middle of the pack. Things would be more promising if the Bulls had a young roster comprised of players on the rise or a veteran bunch capable of challenging the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls are not even close enough to be either.
Depending on the growth of young players such as Doug McDermott and Denzel Valentine, the Bulls will be in a better position a year from now. A problem with that thinking is McDermott has not taken the next step as a defender or an overall scorer, and Valentine cannot stay on the court. Neither of them strikes you as future stars. This is the future of the Chicago Bulls.
— Hoops Rumors (@HoopsRumors) January 9, 2017
The future of the Chicago Bulls is uncertainty, promise not delivered, and a painfully short ceiling, which is why they should consider trading Taj Gibson for someone younger with somewhat of a ceiling.
A post on Twitter by Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler is suggesting that the Chicago Bulls are at least thinking about trading Taj Gibson.
As for trading Taj. Its possible. I think that really depends on how the next 30 days go. If Bulls stay average, more likely. https://t.co/3RAJ4eUVSR
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 19, 2017
Kyler’s belief that the next 30 days will be the determining factor for the Chicago Bulls is likely dead on. With their current place in the Eastern Conference standings, the Bulls should want to shake up their team now before it is too late.
A mistake was made by the Bulls last season, perhaps a miscalculation on their part.
At the NBA trade deadline last season, the Chicago Bulls opted not to trade (courtesy of the Chicago Tribune) Pau Gasol despite several offers. It was the Bulls’ thought that they had a shot at re-signing Gasol, who wanted no part of a Bulls’ return, given the direction the franchise was headed in. Gasol wants one more shot at an NBA title, the Chicago Bulls are no closer to a championship than the Philadelphia 76ers.
Once the NBA trade deadline came and went, Stephen A. Smith bashed the Chicago Bulls (courtesy of ESPN) for not trading Pau Gasol. There can be no such mistakes made with Taj Gibson, not with a Minnesota Timberwolves’ front office that has some interest, along with a player or two that could help the Chicago Bulls going forward.
Taj Gibson is a free agent at the end of the season, and there are no guarantees that he will be back with the Bulls. If the Bulls were wise, they would trade him or risk losing him for nothing.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Minnesota Timberwolves are entertaining offers for Ricky Rubio and Shabazz Muhammad. A Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves swap makes all of the sense in the world.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 17, 2017
A trade between the Bulls and Timberwolves would look like this: Taj Gibson, Rajon Rondo, and a lottery protected first round pick in 2018 in exchange for Ricky Rubio, Shabazz Muhammad, and Nikola Pekovic. There are a few reasons why this trade between the Bulls and Timberwolves would work, with one particular reason to focus on.
The Bulls want to get younger and more athletic. Getting Ricky Rubio and Shabazz Muhammad is a step in that direction.
Rubio does not solve the Bulls’ need for shooting, but he could be the right point guard to pair with Jimmy Butler as the years go on. He is a solid floor leader and can occasionally make a shot, yet he is more inclined to make the right pass. Some people will point out Rubio’s drop in scoring as diminishing skills. What gets lost is that he plays on a Timberwolves’ team that has three players averaging 20 points a game.
Shabazz Muhammad gives the Bulls a legitimate backup to Butler. A backup small forward is sorely needed on the Bulls, and getting a player with Muhammad’s could pay off with great dividends.
In Minnesota, the Timberwolves want to get some veteran leadership and have a point guard to be the bridge until Kris Dunn is ready to take over. Gibson could tutor the Timberwolves’ young bigs on head coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. He is still a capable scorer and a terrific rebounder, and Taj Gibson is what the Timberwolves want. Rajon Rondo would be the wild card here, but he makes sense for the Timberwolves also.
Thibodeau was an assistant coach on the Boston Celtics’ team that won the NBA title, and that same Celtics’ team had Rajon Rondo on it. Given Thibodeau’s intimate knowledge of Rondo and the fact that he is one of the few coaches who would get the point guard’s respect, it is a match.
The one concern would be if the Bulls and Timberwolves would make a deal with each other.
Many will recall how the Chicago Bulls unceremoniously fired Tom Thibodeau at the end of the 2014-15 season. There could still be some hurt feelings between the Bulls and the Timberwolves’ boss.
Regardless of that, the NBA is a business, and the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves have to do what is best for business. Trading with each other with the aforementioned deal is great for both teams going forward.
Will the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves end up making a trade? That remains to be seen. Imagining Taj Gibson helping the Timberwolves get to the postseason while Ricky Rubio is doing the same for the Bulls is good theater.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]